A Reminder . . .

James 4:11–12 (ESV)

11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

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Colossians 3:14 NASB Beyond all these things put on love . . .

Colossians 3:12-14 NASB

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; [13] bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. [14] Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Created for who . . .?

Have you been at home and maybe watching TV and see one of those ads to travel to see some of the most amazing things your mind can imagine?  Like the Seven Wonders of the World.

Maybe you are like me, and you just sit in wonder and maybe awe and maybe some jealousy of those that have been able to see some of these or similar.  What amazes me the most however, is for the thousands of years, these natural wonders have been around and for most of those thousands of years, no one knew they existed.  Just like the fish of the deep, unless we had invented scuba gear, we would never know about what is in the ocean.  Without communication, we would never know about the tallest mountain or the lowest place on earth or the saltiest lake or highest waves of the ocean.

What about all the animals of the world, would you or I ever see a Lion, Cheetah, Elephant, maybe the forest of Butterflies in South America, or a rare frog from the rain forest.  My point is, there is so much to see here on this earth, but for most of us, we will never see the beauty, most of us may not even know they exist.  So, why did God create such a beautiful planet if so much of it would never truly be seen by us?  Think about all the generations before we had worldwide communication, the people of the past glided through there life without ever feeling envious of not seeing these magnificent creations of God.

So, did God do it out of pride, or is it just a natural result of God.  God does not have pride as we do, but I do believe He cannot make anything not beautiful, like us!    You know, when I meet Jesus Christ, I want to ask him this question about beauty not seen. However, for some reason I have this vision that once I am on my way to Heaven, so much of the mysteries we have here on earth will be revealed to us.

I wonder why we feel envious or have the feeling that we should visit these unique places on earth.  We often give status to those who have “traveled” around the world, as though they have more wisdom and intelligence than we do.  They may about those things, but it does not make them smarter on our life, our family, our talents, the things we believe and hold valuable.    What does make me feel less, is knowing I will never see these things. I feel cheated somehow.  I know they exist, but why cannot I go see them.  I guess that is why the person answered the question to climbing to the top of Mt Everest: “Why did you do it?” his reply “Because it was there.”

Will visiting the land where Jesus walked make Him more real to me.  Will it make me be, feel or act like a better Christian.  Will it be something I might loath over others?   I feel sometimes, those who have had the chance to travel and see some of those incredible sites, whether buildings, animals, or natural creations, I feel those people seem to feel they are a step above others who have not.  True, they are blessed to have been able to do these incredible trips.

A thought just occurred to me.  Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus seem to ever want to go see these creations of his Father.  Never asks to go to the top of Mt. Everest or to the bottom of the ocean.  His focus was on his mission.  Therefore, that is going to be my focus too.  I will leave the question until the special day, maybe we can all talk about it then too.

AMEN and God Bless

 

 

 

 

Hallelujah . . .

Revelation 19:1–10 (ESV)

Rejoicing in Heaven

19 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

for his judgments are true and just;

for he has judged the great prostitute

who corrupted the earth with her immorality,

and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!

The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,

all you his servants,

you who fear him,

small and great.”

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!

For the Lord our God

the Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

 

Verses 1–10
Praising God for what we have, is praying for what is yet further to be done for us. There is harmony between the angels and the saints in this triumphant song. Christ is the Bridegroom of his ransomed church. This second union will be completed in heaven; but the beginning of the glorious millennium (by which is meant a reign of Christ, or a state of happiness, for a thousand years on earth) may be considered as the celebration of his espousals on earth. Then the church of Christ, being purified from errors, divisions, and corruptions, in doctrine, discipline, worship, and practice, will be made ready to be publicly owned by him as his delight and his beloved. The church appeared; not in the gay, gaudy dress of the mother of harlots, but in fine linen, clean and white. In the robes of Christ’s righteousness, imputed for justification, and imparted for sanctification. The promises of the gospel, the true sayings of God, opened, applied, and sealed by the Spirit of God, in holy ordinances, are the marriage-feast. This seems to refer to the abundant grace and consolation Christians will receive in the happy days which are to come. The apostle offered honour to the angel. The angel refused it. He directed the apostle to the true and only object of religious worship; to worship God, and him alone. This plainly condemns the practice of those who worship the elements of bread and wine, and saints, and angels; and of those who do not believe that Christ is truly and by nature God, yet pay him a sort of worship. They stand convicted of idolatry by a messenger from heaven. These are the true sayings of God; of Him who is to be worshipped, as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

 

Henry, M. & Scott, T., 1997. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Revelation 18:20–24 (ESV)

20  Rejoice over her, O heaven,

and you saints and apostles and prophets,

for God has given judgment for you against her!”

21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence,

and will be found no more;

22  and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,

will be heard in you no more,

and a craftsman of any craft

will be found in you no more,

and the sound of the mill

will be heard in you no more,

23  and the light of a lamp

will shine in you no more,

and the voice of bridegroom and bride

will be heard in you no more,

for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,

and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.

24  And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,

and of all who have been slain on earth.”

 

Verses 20–24
That which is matter of rejoicing to the servants of God on earth, is matter of rejoicing to the angels in heaven. The apostles, who are honoured and daily worshipped at Rome in an idolatrous manner, will rejoice in her fall. The fall of Babylon was an act of God’s justice. And because it was a final ruin, this enemy should never molest them any more; of this they were assured by a sign. Let us take warning from the things which brought others to destruction, and let us set our affections on things above, when we consider the changeable nature of earthly things.

 

Henry, M. & Scott, T., 1997. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Don’t do it . . .

1 John 2:15-17 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Don’t need to absorb yours . . .

Opinions . . .

The effect of an opinion on our lives, how we feel about ourselves and even each other is amazing. I have to ask myself, why does an opinion of someone I truly don’t know have such a profound effect on me. You know the opinion you often get through the rumor mill. Then when we hear it, it bothers us, so much we have to talk about it and then maybe talk bad about the person who was said to spread it, and we have to continue talking about it to others.

An example of how we let opinions bother us, I will use me as an example. Most often, when I am in a store, a mall where there is a lot of people, one might yell out: “Hey stupid . . .”, and for some reason I will turn around and see if they are talking to me! Why!!?? Now, if someone is in the mall and yells out: “hey good looking handsome man with a great smile . . .”, I am almost positive they are not talking about me.

I was glancing through the TV channels one day and landed on this elderly lady speaking to a group of, I believe it was just woman, and she was speaking about how her husband had absorbed an opinion from the neighbors. She questioned, when did our neighbors get onto our board of directors for running our household. That statement just caught me, it made sense, it helped me understand that I have been placing opinions of people that really don’t know me, but even if they did, on a higher level than my own.

So, where does this come from, this automatic upscale of someones opinion higher than our own. I truly believe it starts in our home, as it should. We have parents who tell us their opinion about everything we do as we grow up. We have siblings, most often older ones that chime in on those opinions too. Then we go to school and we get opinions from other adults and now from our class mates. What makes things worse, is when different people say the same thing, then reinforces that opinion, makes it more right and we begin to sink from the weight of opinions, especially the negative ones. Funny, the negative ones seem to be the most often given. I don’t hear around the store or families: “hey, come here, I need your help, you are so smart at these things.” Not a lot of constant positive reinforcement in the house – usually.

Again, my own experience. I was at home doing a chore, and typically I was probably getting some negative feedback. I stopped and asked my parent, why is it at work, the bosses and people there are always telling me what a good job I am doing, but when I come home, I never hear the same opinion? This parent was dumbfounded and thought he should drop it on the other parents lap. The topic was never brought up again, even though there was some very heavy hitting on the negative side during my growing up.

So, we are vulnerable to others opinions for a couple reasons. We grow up believing the opinion of our parents of us is the correct opinion. We don’t hear enough of a counter opinion, a positive reinforcement, to form another opinion of ourselves. So, we carry around this opinion of ourselves and sometimes, we carry it on the front of our shirt announcing how we feel about ourselves. Bullies, mean people, seem to pick up that quickly and are the ones to fire at the target. They find something which makes you flinch, then it puts them into the driver seat of your feelings, they can manipulate you by finding those bulls eye and keep hitting them.

Bullying is a big issue in schools, or it was. There was this emphasis on the kids not to bully and I can see that, however; where do kids learn their behavior. For the most part, they are not born with all of it, some is instinctive. Wildly, many, many, many parents use bullying as a way of manipulating their kids. So, the older child bullies the younger child and so on right. Then it gets taken to school, the playground and friendships. I heard as I grew up, a child beaten growing up becomes a child beater themselves. It did not make sense to me, but it does now. Why, well let’s say you are beaten every time your guardian thinks you made a mistake, even though you hate it, you have only been taught one way to react to the same situation. Without being taught an alternative way, what is the way the child will react when his child makes a mistake, the default.

We use child beating as the line of wow, but it’s in all behaviors. If a child grows up in a family where hugs, love, respect and positive feedback are given, there is a higher chance they will also teach this to their offspring.

Back to opinions, we are weakened by how we are raised. We develop opinions about ourselves with how we are treated both physically and verbally. So, how do you take a young child just entering school and put them into the pits of vipers and tell them, what they said is not for you, is not meant for you, don’t take it personally?

If I went up to Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps and told them they were not any good at their sport? They’d laugh right, why. Because there is substantial evidence to the contrary. No different if I told Wilt Chamberlain he was short, evidence undeniable to the contrary. So, how does this fit in with helping our children enter the pits of the sharks and survive. Give them enough evidence about themselves that they know, when bully are being bullies, they have enough evidence within themselves to squelch the attack.

Secondly, I believe we have to teach them an opinion is only an opinion, it is not a truth – and even if it is – so what, be strong with who we are. Example from me. I have been extremely overweight for the last 10 years or more. If someone came up to me and called me fat, should I be offended, or tell them good observation what clued you in that I was? In other words, both ideas are working to strengthen the self-esteem and the self-confidence of the child of the person.

Two examples of my life: I was in shop and we were building these copper bracelets or something with copper. I took mine up to the instructor and asked him if it was ok. He turned and looked at me and said: “It’s almost perfect Lee” he hesitated then said: “Leland, think about this, you came up and asked me is something that was almost perfect, was ok, let that sink in.” What’s funny, I told a good friend of mine what the instructor said, you know what he said, he said “He also tells the kids that are doing crappy the very same thing. . .” It never sunk in, never got reinforcement like that until:

In High School, we were doing the side lateral test, you know where you stand straddling one line and you need to move left to right to cross the other lines, to get an idea of your side to side speed. The football coach was doing the counting/judging. I did my test and when I was done, I looked at him and said, “I know, that was pretty bad . . .”, he said: “You tied the school record!” The next year or later that year, I was playing basketball and the coach and a couple guys came over to play 2/2. In the game, I used my ability to stop and pivot well. The football coach reiterated to me that I was in truth able to put the moves on them. From this, he invited me to come play football for him the next season – I got recruited by the football coach.

One more, I never thought I was smart. From the time I can remember, I could not figure school out. I was pretty good up till we got real grades in the third grade. My mom went to a teacher/parent conference and when I got home, she had the shotgun ready. She pulled out a 3×5 index card with subjects and letters next to them and asked me: “Did I think these were good?”, I knew from her anger and sound of her voice, I should shake my head no, I did. But, even though my parents knew I struggled with school, I never got help on my homework, never a tutor, never tested for a learning disability, it was this or that and guess what, I also did not have any self-confidence or self-esteem – because if I could not succeed in school, I was a failure.

In college, there was this Biology teacher, one of the smartest and best teachers I have ever met. Respected him with everything. He was not just smart but a good student too, he graduated from college with straight A’s and he did not have a photographic memory, like his wife does. He studied and was organized. One day we were talking about something and he looked at me and said: “Leland, you are different, you are smart!”, never heard those words from an adult before, especially in my family.

My points on these are not to rag on family, although it does some, but it to show you that I grew up in an environment where the positive was never emphasized, the good things I could do and did do were not celebrated. Thus, when I heard statements that seemed to mimics the opinion I had of myself, it just made me feel worse and enforced that opinion of me even more – almost unshakable.

I have a friend, his home life was the opposite, I was told that his dad would often compliment him to the point where he was embarrassed. But, this also helped him succeed. Through this life, he has done much better at the elements of life than I have. He proceeds, and I see it with a base of confidence I have only dreamed about. What’s funny, it’s not his talent. I am more talented and smarter, I can see that, but he does not let those opinions of others bring him down, because he knows has a base of success, that make those accusations and opinions not register on his richter scale.

So, I finish. For some reason, I think it is hard for parents to raise kids with higher self-esteem than them, why. Because they were not taught too. Parents suffer from the same insecurities they did when they entered into the shark pit, they survived maybe by bringing others down, but being the bully, but not meaning to be. Some of us find our way out because someone else recognizes our talent, ambition, ability and feeds us the good stuff that helps us grow into strong, stable individuals with a roots of confidence?

Think of a child like a precious plant. We give plants in our garden, sunlight, water, , extra organic food, we spay to keep of the bugs and other things that kill them or damage them, we put coats over them when it’s too hot or cold, we do a lot of pampering to our garden so it will grow wonderful, strong tasty fruits and vegetables, why don’t we put the same effort into those kids?